The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the NL West title on Thursday with their win over the Diamondbacks. The Champagne celebration marked the conclusion to an amazing regular-season run that saw them climb from last place to first place across the month of July and ultimately run away with their division.
With one of baseball’s biggest payrolls and several of its brightest stars, the Dodgers have been steadily in the sport’s spotlight for over a year. And no matter what fans of the Giants, Rockies, D-Backs and Padres might say, there’s plenty to like about the NL West’s best club.
Here are 17 awesome things about the Los Angeles Dodgers:
1. Yasiel Puig’s armWe figured we’d get Puig out of the way first. The Dodgers’ Cuban sensation is awesome in more ways than one, but his arm makes for the most spectacular highlights. Yeah, sometimes he overthrows the cutoff man. But what’re the chances the cutoff man’s relay throw is going to look nearly so cool?
2. They’re owned (in part) by Magic Johnson
3. Matt Kemp does awesome things
Kemp has had a rough season, with injuries keeping him shelved for more than half of the Dodgers’ games. But whenever Kemp’s around, he’s doing good things for people, from donating money to Oklahoma City tornado relief to befriending a terminally ill young fan.
4. Vin Scully keeps going
Everyone knows this by now: Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully is the best. He’ll be back next year for his 65th season — ! — behind the microphone.
5. Clayton Kershaw’s curveball
Clayton Kershaw’s curveball is so good it comes with its own Scully-crafted nickname: Public Enemy No. 1. The rest of his pitches are pretty awesome, too, and Kershaw’s been about the best pitcher in the Majors in 2013. He’s somehow doesn’t get enough credit for being the best pitcher on one of the best teams in one of the nation’s biggest media markets. He will here.
6. Clayton Kershaw’s astronomy background
Kershaw’s uncle, Clyde Tombaugh, discovered Pluto. And Kershaw’s extended family has beef with the International Astronomers Union for downgrading Pluto to a trans-Neptunian dwarf planet and ruining mnemonics everywhere.
7. Clayton Kershaw’s adorable relationship
It’s hard to celebrate or denigrate relationships without personally knowing either party involved. But Kershaw and his wife Ellen have been dating since they were 15, when they looked very much like 15-year-olds in love. It’s heartwarming. This whole list could be about Kershaw, but I’ll save the rest for when he wins the Cy Young.
8. Danny DeVito loves Nick Punto
This is a relationship the world definitely needs to know more about. Danny DeVito owns a Nick Punto jersey. How did that happen, and how can we make sure it keeps happening?
9. Hanley’s whole look
Sporting an open shirt, rosary beads and a filthy helmet, shortstop Hanley Ramirez maintains his own aesthetic. He pulls it off because he’s awesome. Ramirez has played the best baseball of his career since the Dodgers’ run started in late June, shortly after Ramirez returned from the disabled list. If he had played a full season, he’d likely be a runaway favorite for the NL MVP Award.
10. Baseball’s most ridiculous beard